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Contributed by: [name withheld]
Contributed on: July 13, 2016

Which blackout(s) did you experience?

In your own words, tell the story of your experience in the blackout(s). Try to recall specific events and the people, places, and things involved; also include more general reactions, images adn last impressions?
1977:Shortly after the lights went out I got a call form my girlfriend,who was working at A&S downtown Bklyn,she was stranded there would I pick her up.I was living in Marine Park(the other end of Brooklyn). I drove the long way ie Belt Pkwy and BQE to avoid the street traffic. From the elevated part of the BQE, I could see numerous fires on the horizon. It looked like a war zone.

Did either blackout seem significant or shocking at the time?
1977 only

Why did you consider the blackout(s) to be significant or insignificant?
NYC-Brooklyn,at the time, was rough and dangerous and falling apart. Beyond the failing infrastructure involved in the blackout, the sight of the fires and the sense of dread being in a dark and dangerous part of town, contributed to a sense of pessimism about the living in the city.

How did the blackout(s) affect you?
I was 13 in '65 - sheltered and safe, in '77 I was 25 out of school and jobless. The event had not direct adverse effect beyond contributing to a sense of unease about the future.

Did the blackout(s) have any larger meaning in your mind?
Yes (please explain)

Did the blackout(s) cause any profound crisis?

How did the blackout(s) affect your daily reliance on electricity?
Became less reliant

This is how the story goes: In November of 1965 the lights went out in New York and crime rates temporarily dropped; there were widespread reports of extraordinary cooperation and trust between strangers caught together in the power failure. In July of 1977, little more than a decade later, the lights went out again in New York. This time, a devastating wave of looting and arson broke out. Does this story ring true to you? Explain why or why not:
Yes, it certainly rings true. The whole country had changed in the years between '65 and "77. Racial and political strife, sagging economy and lack of faith in leadership and mistrust of "others". The country in general, especially NYC,was in decline. Actually, it sounds a lot like the present.

Cite as: Anonymous, Story #2216, The Blackout History Project, 13 July 2016, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/2216/>.
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